Artwork for podcast GREEN Organic Garden Podcast
Free The Seeds 2019 | Food Resilient Communities | Robin Kelson from the Good Seed Company | Whitefish, MT
31st January 2019 • GREEN Organic Garden Podcast • Jackie Marie Beyer
00:00:00 00:13:27

Share Episode


Free the Seeds!

provides community-powered opportunities to build a sustainable and resilient future through real seeds, real food, and real skills. We look forward to you joining us for our 4th annual Free the Seeds! on March 2, 2019.

This year’s fair will be held again in Kalispell at Flathead Valley Community College in the Arts & Technology Building. The fair will open with the seed swap and vendor booths at 9 am. The seed swap will run 9 am–noon. Workshops, booths, and kids’ activities will be held 10 am–3:30 pm, with a 45-minute break for lunch at 12:15 pm. Food will be available for purchase at the event all day.

Ready for some inspiration? Check out our workshop videos from the 2017 fair.

We look forward to seeing you in March 2019!

Free the Seeds! is a program of Farm Hands – Nourish the Flathead, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, whose mission is to reconnect people to the sources of their food and those who produce it through education, outreach, and market support.

2018 Free the Seeds!

Last year we handed out between 15-20,000 packets of seeds. Donated by local growers and seed companies. Volunteers who help clean and pack the seeds. Every year we have over 1000 people show up. The event is free at the local community college and there’s events upstairs and downstairs. It’s an incredible lively gathering and information.

Resilient Communities

It’s a great way to learn about growing food and what’s involved in having access to good healthy local food and why that’s important.

One example there are folks who process herbs and teach how to make tinctures, and how to grow the herbs for oils, medicinal purposes.

Workshops on

  • Herbs
  • ferment your food
  • Sourdough
  • how to raise chickens
  • well taught by experts in the field all from the Valley

So this is the 3rd? 4th?

We started 4 years ago this is our 4th!

Do you want to talk about what tips or tricks have made it successful as it keeps growing?

The main thing is we didn’t limit to a sharing of seeds

help people get access to quality food for their health and their families health

So we made it about sharing

  • seeds
  • information
  • skills

inclusion of workshops

The whole event is free! That’s important!

We don’t sell anything so there are not vendors who have intention of selling products

People who man the booths for low entry for between $25-40

educate people what you do and help them understand how the info you offer

whether you have a farm and you offer CSAs or 

offer products for sale

letting people know what you do to improve their health or choice of food

willing to create an environment as a free resource to community

tremendous positive feedback and support from people on a financial level

support people who save seeds

build community

  • keep it free is really important!
  • share info
  • share skills
  • share seeds

Plan for a big space because you will attract a lot of members in your community!

We spent a lot of time being creative to get the word out. Our first year our intention

anyone in a huge area wanted to know about Free the Seeds knew about the event.

Social media

  • radio shows

  • podcast promotions

  • newspapers to write articles

as long as you heard US was what we wanted! Whether you came was less important as people learned about our organization. 

Reach as many people as possible!

We thought maybe 300-400 people first year and as you know we were quite surprised!

We’ve gotten over a 1000 people every year so having a space that will accomodate everyone!  

It’s a hit!

I remember at the door with you and Pam and the first 500 flyers were gone before we even opened the door at 10:00 they were all gone with so many people already through the door!!

I think we were part of tipping point!

It’s so important communities are understanding the need for 

  • good quality

  • nutrient dense food

  • specifics

  • how to grow

  • how to access

  • where to find it!

It underscores there’s a vast need for this information and to get this info out to your community is very valuable

 not difficult to do

tremendous amount of work

The other thing we have done is

Clarified focus

we have secured a container for Free the Seeds moving forward

Free the Seeds!

is about building resilient community based food systems

So a food system is not just about growing food

  • processing

  • distributing

  • consuming

  • reclaiming waste

putting all those pieces together in a circle or a cycle

It’s critical and essential for having a

  • robust
  • resilient
  • based food system

local or regional based food system is how our ancestors lived because we didn’t have access to food from large distances away and the most successful way of keeping a community thriving! 

Infrastructure built in to grow it’s own food to the best of its ability


Not just the people who grow it it includes the people who eat it



all have a role to play

If you eat your in!

there’s no body outside our circle. We’re all a part of it. 

We’re about helping the community members

It isn’t about the growers over there and the eaters over here were all part of the same system

play who eat the food have a role to play as much as those who grow it

together we build a functional robust system. Where to find the role that we have to play in that circle is where we are going to put our focus moving forward.

Thanks for sharing with us because it’s your busy season packing up seeds and mailing them out.

Facebook Page

website is

We’ll be putting posters this weekend, if you’re in the area you’ll see posters

At FVCC in the arts and tech

  • volunteer
  • booth spaces I think there are a couple of booth spaces up until Feb 15th. 
  • financial sponsors of course

There’s also the archive of workshop videos you can see some info we have presented before.

Last year you were going around to Breweries to get the word out. Are you doing that again?

we are, we have one in early feb 5th

this year we are going to combine with seed packing and

Bonsai brewing project

again to Eureka

  • people love to pack seeds
  • have some fun!
  • new feature!

Thanks Robin from the Good Seed Company!

This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis:

Podsights -
Chartable -